Unhappy Camper—Joe Sober Strikes Again
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Its 4:20 am on a misty morning out here on the edge of everywhere. I’m standing outside the old, rundown church where we hold my 4:30 am meeting. I’m smoking a Nat Sherman Menthol and watching all the rough boys sheepishly walk out of their CMA meeting. Less sober than me but live and let live, right?
CMA is kind of like SA and just as bloody. I had a cousin in MA that led him to OA and he wound up in PA at a state mental hospital. I like to keep it pure and ultra-classic with my AA. Except today; because I’m the boss at this 4:30 am meeting, I’m going to start calling our group the Smug Solutions. 'Come on down to the SS for some hardcore sobriety' is what I look forward to everyone in town—and particularly in LA—saying to each other. There’ll be a line to get into my meeting! It’s going to be a hit. I’ll be king of AA. You wait right there and see.
Most of the guys at my meeting are what we in AA call “old timers”—which is AA speak for “almost dead.”
A bunch of the dudes gave me a “Hey Joe,” and I gave them that "What’s up? I’m cool with you being a meth head" nod in return. That’s just the power of my sobriety at work. Well that and the sexual power of the insanely hot military inspired jacket I’m wearing over my fitted mauve polo tee, along with my tight indigo denim pants that drape over my brown brogue leather boots in a saddle tan color.
“We have a real meeting in here at 4:30! So clear out but don’t nod out!”
I love that last part. I made it up right there on the spot. Finally that improv class I made my dead sponsee pay for was rocking the house. I hope somebody in TV heard me.
Now comes the tough part—setting up. I always get someone less sober than me to do this fingernail work. Mainly because it’s good for their sobriety to put up my signs the way I like them and make my coffee the way it should be made. The other reason is that most of the guys at my meeting are what we in AA call “old timers”—which is AA speak for “almost dead”—so they get all cranky and stuff when I ask for their help. They sit there reading their newspapers. (What kind of dumb ass Coulter still reads a newspaper?) Wait until all the folks in LA hear about my meeting. Then they'll all fly here on their jet packs to attend. All those famous people that aren’t sober yet, will be made sober by me. It’s all in the 12th step. Bet you haven’t even read it yet. I’ll bet you can’t even read. Getting sober may not make you smart but it will most definitely make me a movie star!
So I’m banging my gavel and I start telling everyone that this is AA but that now we’re going to call it Smug Solutions
My favorite old timer is Dirty Sanchez. He is definitely the Emperor to my much better looking Darth Maul. He has told me stuff that has blown my mind. If I drop something he says “pick it up,” or if I want to talk to him about how I’m afraid of girls, he says something like “Kid, get the fuck away from me.” I know what he really means is something else because he was loving me even before I came in the rooms! He was loving me while I was in my Ma’s womb. Because I’m special and I stick with the winners like Dirty Sanchez! In AA all the old timers always mean something different than what they say if you really, really, really think about what they say. So much wisdom have they passed on to me. I’m grateful that I figured that out. Now I’m as wise—but will be that much more wise when I’m finger nailing in my pants. If you're new, think about that sentence a lot, it will make sense in a really profound way when you least expect it.
So I’m banging my gavel and I start telling everyone that this is AA but that now we’re going to call it Smug Solutions and some guy has the nerve to interrupt me and tell me that I’m imposing my will by calling it that, so as boss I willed his fat ass right out of the room for “disrupting the meeting.” Dirty Sanchez and Crusty Carl laughed. I’m pretty sure they were laughing with me.
I start reading the introductory script and as the sound of my voice is reminding most folks in the room of Adele while she sings “Make You Feel My Love,” in comes a guy I’ll call the poet. I call him this out of mad respect for his anonymity and because I can’t remember his frigging name. Peter something or is it Paul … Anyway he comes in all dressed in black, disgustingly overweight and carrying all those character defects that other less sober people call the weight of the world.
The poet starts going on and on about his "pain" and blah, blah his marriage and blah, blah, blah something about suicide. So I did what I do, I gave him a beginner’s packet and spoketh at him all the great slogans like "easy does it," "keep coming back" and "it works if you work it." I was on a roll! Just talking at this guy a mile a minute! It felt awesome. Dementia Carol told him to read page 459 and everyone else spit out page numbers. Then it occurred to me—in a voice as pretty as His must be, only deeper and more cigarette stained sounding—“Take him to the woods,” said the gorgeous, gravelly phlegm soaked voice of the Almighty. So I took the suicidal poet on a sober retreat.
We swung by my crib to pick up my Kelly Yellowstone 4 person tent (I am grateful to Pedophile Terry for willing me the 50 grand!) some more smokes and, of course, my battered copy of the Big Book (aka the Bible) that my sponsor Greg once threw at my puppy. Thanks, Greg!
It wasn’t so much that I was going to read aloud from the Big Book, it was more about me getting a chance to read this guy my awesome poems that I wrote inside the pages of it during the endless BB meetings. He had that ‘might know some people that could help me’ look that I couldn’t wait to start exploiting! All in the name of sober! Off to the woods we went.
Along the way I played my Sade then I would hit him with some later Jefferson Airplane (the good stuff. After their upgrade). Then Wham!, I played him some George Michael. “This is your higher power speaking to you Pete!" (Or whatever the heck his name was) “Listen closely!” As suddenly as George was crooning, “You gotta have faith!” we arrived at my destination. It’s in those moments that I know the great dictator in the sky is looking at me and only me and those moments are pretty much every moment of every day except for when I masturbate.
It took the poet 10 hours to set up my killer tent. He asked if he could take a rest and I told him no, that his work was just beginning. I told him to write a list of everyone that he knows in the publishing business along with their numbers. And I told him if he knew any movie stars that he should include their info too. When he was finished he should give it to me and then I was to decide whether or not I would help him.
“I don’t understand,” he whined.
“Understand this,” I said in my serious sounding voice. “A monkey’s hands are the same as his feet.” Long sober silence. I am so sober, it’s scary.
After a delightful evening of experimenting with new oils and creams, I remembered another person was with me and since I was kinda tired, I rewarded the poet by making him sleep outside in the nude. "Shut up bitch," I said when he protested. I felt like a kid again which brought up a lot of shame for me so I kicked the poet, but gently, lovingly. In the teeth. It was a quicker way to being sober like me, I told him. These are only suggestions but, just be my Sherpa, sleep naked in the woods, and take a kick in the mouth and you might be well enough for me to start stepping you first thing in the morning. He took all those suggestions and I feel like I could rule the world!
I had to pee in the middle of the deep dark night (that’s from one of my poems) and I noticed him lying there all covered in dirt and vomit. It made me think how lucky he was to have me looking out for him, and how, most of the time, my hair falls right into place. Then I peed one of those long, heavy pees that truly sober men pee. He woke up suddenly and right away started with his incessant white noise. Listen, I said, if a cat had the face of a dog, would it still be a cat? Don’t answer, I told him, it’s unanswerable. I was glad he didn’t because I don’t know. I do know that this shut him up.
“My Dad” he suddenly whispered, “My Dad has money. He can pay you.”
Now if I told him that I would be his sponsor and that I wouldn’t charge him a dime because of all that tradition crap, it wouldn’t be a selfish program. Right? If I told him that I had a spiritual awakening and that it was my spiritual duty to carry the message to other alcoholics without a profit incentive, then I would have not been a very good businessman. Seeing how not being a very good businessman is one of my character defects, I decided that I would take his father’s money.
“Where does your dad live?” I asked.
“Malibu,” he said and at or around the same time some kind of woods bird type thing made a sound. That was my higher power speaking to me and saying, "Take this man’s money and get him to take you to freaking MALIBU and charge him like $2000 a day, only he said it in a woodsy bird kind of way. I’ll take him through the steps very slowly. One a year!!!! One a decade!!!! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! God is making me a sober companion! And a very connected future poet/movie star that one day hopes to direct!
By the time I got to my car I had a very sober boner. I told the poet to turn away and I prayed that my higher power that I choose to call the squealing baby Jesus was looking at Uganda for those next 32 seconds.
I'm pretty sure it would be a cat.
Joe Sober is a pseudonym for a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He last wrote about why he is more sober than you.